tv [untitled] February 6, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PST
that is what we had to make a decision on, who was going to be an evaluator and who was going to write the rfp. commissioner murphy: thank you. commissioner walker. >> -- commissioner walker: thank you for this. actually speaks to the process that we have been involved with. even as we went into this process of realizing we needed a new system, we did not have a presentation to actually talk about what was happening right now. i think that you have done an amazing -- and we have done an amazing job of sort of piecing together what we could to hobble along with this system, and i will -- i have been on this commission since the earlier part of this decade, at which time, we were also involved in this process, realizing that the time would come when the current system would cease to be able
to accommodate these issues and these amendments and the changes we wanted to make. really important is this ability for all of our departments to work together. that is crucial. i will also went out that those departments are also paying for their for dissipation, so they are helping us financially create this new system. i know that the process over the past nine years that i have been involved with has included a lot of the stakeholders, including the public, including our department, both the inspections -- everybody using it, and i think that the issue that you brought up about not everybody who -- should be involved is. the process we have of issuing rfp's and then evaluating or choosing a vendor is set forth
by the human rights commission and the controller's office and the board. i think that the relevant process now is that the rfp is out and is being evaluated by folks who may want to respond. it is good to know that we have adequate staff to make a choice about how we move forward. thank you for the presentation, and your continuing work, i'm sure, to make sure that we get what we need. commissioner mar: also, before the presentation. i was wondering if there is also a way of tracking how many contractors for homeowners will get in line. we talked about the line problem and people waiting to talk to a live person when in fact they could have gone online to check something, you know? because they did not know how to do it or they did not know it
was available online. instead, they came down, in line to try to find out something that maybe they could have done from their own office, or even if we had public monitors, where they could get on line to find out something. if that would be a way of -- >> [inaudible] >> yes, making it a little bit easier. i know a lot of contractors or homeowners are not computer literate. therefore, they spend a lot of time trying to interface with a live person when they could have just done it from their office or something else. >> right, we do have the computer online availability in the public information area, and we do have people there that can help people. that did go to the information counter. somehow they get up to the fifth floor, which is the processing floor, and wait in line to ask a question when they need to be at the first floor.
we are trying to address that with more staff being able to direct people. that is the large problem in the department. commissioner murphy: i agree with you on that. there is a lot of older people around that do not use computers, and a lot of homeowners that come down to the dbi to get a permit, and they get frustrated with the difficulty of getting a permit. what i see that worries me quite a bit if they just get frustrated, and they go off to do their jobs and they do them without a permit. there is a whole underlying economy dead that we could be tapping into if we had made the process a little easier and simple, and, quite frankly, it
has got difficult. it has got more difficult. instead of one piece of paper, you need by pieces of paper today. i think if i was the guy coming looking for it, i would be frustrated, too. commissioner mar: the reason i raise the point was that we need education on how to use the services. homeowners are a little different. so many people get in line when they just do not have to, and we should point out that there is a lot easier way to do this. >> to the point of people being frustrated, i want to point out that more projects are receiving over the counter permits.
one of the things i'm hopeful of in this new system is for when someone comes in, they will be able to know how long it is going to take. i think that would go a long way towards, you know, making our system less frustrating. if somebody knows what to expect, they should set their expectations that appear hopefully, as we go through the process of keeping a vendor, as they go through the recommended changes that i think all of us agreed to -- we have been working on this for so long, that can be one of the goals, to be able to look at somebody when they walk in for a permit and say, "it is going to take you two hours. it is going to take you two weeks. it is going to take you -- you know." then we have something to be accountable to. we draw a line, and management can say, "we told them this, and this is what happened," and
figure out why. so thank you for your work on this. commissioner murphy: thank you. as a commission, we are here to make concessions. we are not here to give anyone a hard time. it is going to be a ripple effect. why are we doing this? there is going to be -- i hope whoever takes over as the next president will continue putting a lot of stuff on the agenda that we need to get out there, that we need to talk about, and turned his department into the 70's 480's, rather than the 50's. commissioner hechanova. commissioner hechanova: the department really is service-
based, and that is where we generate as an enterprise departments where our customer needs are -- are met immediately, efficiently, and in a way that is friendly. because we will have not only returning customers, but also for people who were not there to bring in and security permits, something that they want to do something about in an irresponsible way of the buildings they either want to improve, and hearing from what the ada issues are is a lot of old buildings, and a lot of old buildings are the major reason is because the compliance issues on new buildings are really being addressed immediately before it is being built. in light of that, larger tool that we will hopefully have in place will be the new bps tracking system, which basically
becomes a bigger searchlight for all of us to see at the life of the end of this tunnel. over a year ago, they were both on the industry side and also residents and citizens in san francisco came up and spoke about how this system is great. they are willing to pay extra money if they knew that they were getting more service and faster service, and i think that we are getting there, and, hopefully, that the generation of proposals will really address the key and critical issues that were brought in this presentation about being more efficient, delivering the service, and as the service being delivered will get more income more immediately into the department. commissioner murphy: thank you, commissioner. further comments?
seeing none, public comments, please. three minutes. >> good morning, commissioners. luke o'brien. i'm glad to see this back open again, and to let everybody know, this is on the agenda at our department as well. i send out an announcement to parties that i feel are interested in this, and the other topics, and i specifically said that the objective of this combined hearing -- discovery, understanding, and comprehension of existing systems in the city, whether it is the environmental review or permit tracking or whatever, and the hope is to start to think long term and problem-solving. the mattress shifts a little bit too, "what the hell do we have to do to fix whatever it is
we need to do?" let's think about begging for forgiveness rather than worrying about getting permission. let's get results. i understand the director has to police the ship at all times, has to be careful they did not leave themselves open for a lawsuit from another department, agency, or whatever, and we will never be able to argue against that. the previous director had during the meetings that they started with the people sort of form committees that could weigh in on some of this stuff and might have been able to be involved in it. it is hard for me because i understand the legal. it would not be impossible for me to build, and i know you have to rely on what people are telling you is the case on what is practical and not practical.
that is not a big deal. this system is actually very good. if this man architect of that system, i give him 100 out of 100. it is extremely comprehensive. it is all the bells and whistles you need in order to get a picture right now. you could turn to a guy and say you need a report on it now, and they would ask how many weeks we are behind on this particular that love. he has got it all there, so i hope there's not a lot of energy and money wasted on reinventing this system and the new system, and whether it gets incorporated or not, it could be modularized into the new system, and it will work just fine. that is how they can be done when you know how this thing works. the guys that are going to come in should be told, "we want you to build this system on the new system," so i would love to see a bit more openness, and i would love to be on the evaluation committee, and talk to the human
rights commission to see if we can make it a little bit better rather than wait for the public to receive after they have received it. just a suggestion. thank you. commissioner murphy: thank you. next speaker please. >> thank you, commissioners. mis is something of an oxymoron, and i wish you luck with your new system. i agree that services is the center of the new building department, and that is what citizens need, and that is what you can and should provide. i want to make a few comments. i was told that item 5 would probably not come up until well after 11:00, and i would like to comment on the services that involve accessibility in particular. as you know, there is a new $1 million fund that has been created privately by the opportunity fund, which the city now has access to. i think it would be great if you
put posters about that on the second, third, and fourth floor for small business people do not make a figure out how to ask you about something they do not know about. if you would put up posters, it would make it easy to know, and i think it would be terrific year also, notices are being sent out to small business licensees, as you know, who are restaurant to is. another week or two by the treasurer. i wish this commission would send out notices telling people of their accessibility responsibilities and offering assistance. not enforcement notices. they are facilitation notices to the other small businesses. a single case costs so much more than $12,000 that somebody should just give you the $12,000 to do that. i would hope that you would have 3-but discussions between the disability community organizations, small business organizations, and yourselves on how that small business problem
of accessibility can be streamlined. streamlining does not mean just taking steps out and not requiring enforcement. it actually means doing the enforcement, but more easily, more quickly, with more information out in advance. we are constantly catching up. one thing you might do is have an accessibility person. not like the "new york times" person who hears the case after something has happened, but someone who helps facilitate in advance. your director at the news conference that we are not just here to punish you. and in force things. we are also here to help. i do not know whom to believe, but if you had a prison his title was "facilitator" or had some operation that really did that seriously, i think that would help. you also can offer expertise. you have expertise on your staff, and doing teaching for the small business groups, for the neighborhood groups, for others, putting together flyers
and education materials -- that would all be terrific. unreasonable charges go to the commissioners, and we are happy to get them. we have had very few cases from small businesses, recently. they have all been from very large buildings. i'm sorry i was not here to view the other testimony, but i do not understand why they have to be in the center of this because their primary responsibilities had to do with final two -- commissioner murphy: i will give you one more minute. >> thank you. making city funding programs accessible. we are talking about title 3 and 24, which are private buildings, and that is your domain. thank you. >> can i just make sure that you and the other members of the access of deals come to our meeting on monday night? >> i know that several of us will be there. i will be. >> great. thank you for your service on that, too. commissioner murphy: any further public comment on this item? three minutes.
>> i want to thank the director for the presentation in regards to the permit tracking system. the commissioner mentioned that the 2009 permit tracking system was [inaudible] in 2002. the five was i was with commissioner walker on that effort. it is an incredible tool. you can get a tremendous amount of information on any address, the status of a permit, the time that it took from on hold to release hold, so it is a great tool, but as any technology will lead you to, it is only as strong as its weakest link. it would be on hold for a long time. so you can tap into an incredibly sophisticated system
that will remind you that it is on hold for months, which, as you know, there is a great article in today's paper, and it is a different entity, and dbi has no control over it, but we pay their bills. we can hold them accountable. there is no accountability. use of the drawings, and you are almost afraid to contact the planner. that needs to change. the city is poised for tremendous growth, particularly in the year 2012. as a structural engineer, i see it. i have done a barometer of economic growth, and 9 cents the action. we have had a fairly weak two years. planning -- that is a move, even though there is no work for
them. imagine their performance next year when we do have work. something has to change. this is the timebomb -- we have a new mayor, a new board. there is moderation, activity, a sense that we are open for business. let us do our part to force planning to act and act quickly. thank you. commissioner murphy: thank you. next speaker please. >> hi, commissioners. i do want to comment on the aspect of public service. when you come in, it is amazing how many people actually walk in, and they first come to the information counter, but they seem to wander off. they just see the one sign, and i think it could be bigger than what it is.
the people are really helping these folks. there is two types of application forms -- form 3 and form 8, ones that we are all familiar with. 3 by the over-the-counter. it is what happens when even if a death addition or replacement for the side, or i saw someone the other day where it was a girl raj girla g -- it was a garage being demolished and a new one being built. speaker rodriguez said they get stuck there forever and eventually end up going to dbi. my concern is with the former 3's. they are as booked magic supposed to get assigned to a
plan checker. they should be able to get straight to a plan checker and not be waiting. i think they should go to someone who can take it up to the fifth floor and get approved. i had a situation where the other day, i went up to get approval, and it was supposed to go to the cannibal planchette, and they said they could not take it over there and had to take it back down to the second floor. by that time, it was about 3:00 in the afternoon, and it did not get done. that should not happen. the idea that it is creating work, creating more income for the city and for everybody out there, the idea is to get the permits out asap, and not have this one go down, especially for something like this where we had to do that. we spent more than 15 or 20
minutes looking at this with some lighting, and instead, we are at the second floor. i think these things could be done in a better way than what they are right now. thank you. commissioner murphy: further public comment? >> san francisco coalition for response to growth. president, commissioners, director, i would like to dwell on a personal experience as a customer going into dbi. it was a small, over-the-counter permit. it did not require any architectural drawings, so i figured the process would be simple enough. let me take you through the steps a little bit, and i will
predicate my remarks by saying that all of the staff had -- at dbi were really very helpful and courteous, but the process just was a little strange to me in some respects, so let me dwell on this -- after i messed with the plan checker and the permit was for replacing some kitchen cabinets and some paint internally -- he approved it very quickly, and then, i was asked to go to fire, and the plan checkered checked with his supervisor, did i have to do that, and, yes, i was directed over to fire, which i had to queue up for at least half an hour. the process there seemed very strange because fire had nothing to do with it. there were no internal changes to doors or windows, and after that was signed off, i now wish
to pay. the hour and 10 minutes that i was already in-house suddenly became another hour and a half because i had to now resubmit information at the pace station and wait around for this hour and a half before it was all completed. so i came away just wondering why this payment process was so complicated because i had to resubmit a lot of information as well as the information required around the czech in the mail. i would ask your commissioners to look at the efficiency, and you referred to it, the service, and how that can be improved in 2011. i would appreciate you doing that, has a customer who comes in and out of dbi for a permit occasionally. commissioner murphy: thank you. any further public comment? seeing none, commissioners?
commissioner hechanova: part of our efficiency in the building department that is always intertwined with our nemesis, the planning department, in a category that the presence and accountability seems to keep them somewhat removed from being more immediately accessible, if not responsive to those issues that continue to become planning issues that they seem to stymie the processing of these permits. hopefully, in the operational efficiency for this coming year and further, the -- that the planning department does take a more active and responsible role of accountability that once
there is the component of the planning review that has been performed, it is always part of their responsibility to also be timely and responsive with some of these permit processing, because, face it, it is customer service. it is really being responsive and getting it done quickly is going to also yield benefits to the city and income stream. that is my opinion of where the planning department does have to have a greater presence and active role. it is really perplexing back they are adjacent to a building department and sometimes getting them to respond is almost very cumbersome. commissioner mar: i know we are all looking forward to that
joint meeting with the small business commission, but i really feel that the next one should definitely be with the planning commission. which we should talk to, but i think one of the problems with them is that, you know, this is a very political town. one person close the great project is another neighbor's great, you know, problem. they are susceptible -- i think that is partially their role. they do have to listen to whether the project are reasonable and whether they are well thought out and things like that. i think we should look forward to meeting with them and look for definitely to aligning our work, which i think is part of the spirit it is ridiculous that
there has been more department of collaboration, and our systems do not all work together. if you want something approved in one department, the of the department should know about it. it was already pointed out it is not just planning, but the assessor's office is the same thing. i did some remodeling years ago, and yet, every year, i get a letter from the assessor's office asking when i will finish with my project. i have called them. i have written a nice letters. i have responded every single time, but i do not want to just beat up on the planning department. there is plenty of other departments we could beat up on as well. commissioner walker: i think that this is one of the primary reasons why we all decided to do this new system, to make sure that we could interface and have
the same system as planning, the assessor's office, within which, we will be able to get reports to see who is going to be responsible for the delay. we do not have that now. what we know is that it goes over there. we do not know where it is or why. this system will make them put in white, what is happening, and will let the department heads, anybody going online figure out who is holding the ball, and i think that that, coupled with our -- now, we are the ones coordinating the fee collection -- this office together, and the goal now is to push it along, and i hope that all of us can push together to make this happen. nine years, 10 years is too long for this process to go on. i think that it sounds like we are all mm